The Senate’s Standing Bureau will be considering today a request from the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) for the commencement of criminal prosecution of Senator Gabriel Oprea, a former interior minister standing accused of culpable homicide in the death of police agent Bogdan Gigina.
The Standing Bureau will forward the request to the Judiciary Committee for an opinion, which will be submitted to a plenary session of the Senate, which is entitled to approve or deny the request.
DNA head Laura Codruta Kovesi on Thursday asked that the Senate be notified for the initiation of Gabriel Oprea’s prosecution for culpable homicide in the case of police officer Bogdan Gigina’s death.
According to the DNA, the evidence collected reveals reasonable indications on committing a new offense, besides the ones for which a criminal investigation is already underway.
The prosecutors showed that, on the evening of October 20, 2015, around 19:00, police officer Bogdan Gigina was involved in a traffic accident having suffered a craniocerebral hemorrhage, as consequence of a craniocerebral and facial trauma with a cranial fracture, which caused his death.
“At the time of the accident, victim Bogdan Gigina was part of a motorcade accompanying Minister Oprea. This motorcade, provided by the Road Police Brigade within the Directorate General of the Bucharest Police, was made up of a motorcyclist (victim Gigina) and a team of one police officer and one agent in a traffic police car. This motorcade ran in front of Minister Gabriel Oprea’s car. At the time of the accident, Minister Oprea was going to his residence in the Cotroceni neighbourhood,” the DNA pointed out.
Investigators said that the evidence reveals that, in breach of the legal provisions regulating the accompanying of dignitaries, then Interior Minister Oprea ordered that permanent motorcades accompany him on a permanent basis, made up of both a traffic police car (one agent and one officer) and traffic police motorcycle.
Oprea defends himself: I know I am not guilty
Former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea on Friday wrote on his Facebook page that he is not guilty of the death of police agent Bogdan Gigina, and that the claims of the prosecutors who have requested his criminal investigation have no real grounds.
“This is no easy moment for me. But I know I am innocent. I am waiting for the entire file, and all that I can say now is that each and every time I will use legal levers to show that the claims of the prosecutors are groundless,” wrote Oprea.
“After almost one year, DNA prosecutors say they are asking for approval to start my criminal prosecution in connection with the accident in which Bogdan Gigina died. I said it and say it once again: I am deeply regretting the loss, and words fail to describe how much the tragedy of October 2015 has affected me, especially as a father,” added Oprea.
He also claimed that the investigating prosecutors are following a wrong trail.
“I want justice to be done, but since I have read the DNA statement, I believe the prosecutors are following a wrong trail. I have not had access to the court file, but starting from what has been officially announced so far, there are some things I want to add,’ said Oprea.
He argued that the agent was not part of an official motorcade, but of an ‘accompanying detail,’ saying that he did not set the speed at which trips were made.
“I had never asked for a certain speed during my goings. I would usually ask about the route of the trip. I say it once again, the cruising speed and its adjustment to weather and traffic circumstances are decided upon by the head of the accompanying detail,” wrote Oprea, adding that on the night of the accident he was returning from “one of the state bodies that closely collaborate with the Interior Ministry, namely the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).”
Oprea mentioned that the route and the management of the human resources involved were ‘none of the minister’s business.’
“DNA said that I ‘made Bogdan Gigina be present’ in the detail’ wrong! The route, securing it, managing the human resources and vehicles involved are none of the minister’s business. It would have been impossible for the minister to sit and plan the details of the ‘5 trips’ a day that DNA claims, instead of the minister taking care of other matters,” reads Oprea’s Facebook post.
He argued that DNA “is forgetting something essential, namely mentioning the state of the roads on which the accident occurred.’
“Surprisingly (really?), DNA is committing something essential: Bogdan Gigina did not skip, did not hit a tree, did not drive the wrong way. He fell with his motorcycle in a huge pothole in the road. This is not about speed or rain, but an essential part that the prosecutors are knowingly omitting. In the DNA statement, there is absolutely no mention of the pothole in the road,” added Oprea.
He also quotes the DNA prosecutors as claiming that ‘he, abusing his office ascendency demanded that the trip be made at a very high speed.”
“I gave no oral order, I did not ask, neither did I request anyone to drive at a certain speed or to violate the law, but the prosecutors are claiming that I ‘have forced some demand’ using some alleged ?office ascendancy.’ How did I force it? What is it that the prosecutors are alluding to? What exactly did I do to ?impose’? Is there some order, some oral request or such? Is there some evidence, or is it just the prosecutors’ conjecture?” added Oprea.
EduMin issues order stripping former IntMin Oprea of LLD title
The Education Ministry on Friday posted on its website an order from the education minister stripping former Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea of a Doctor of Law (LLD) title.
“This is to deprive Mr Oprea M. Gabriel of the Doctor of Law title bestowed on him by the Bucharest University under Order of the Education Minister 3467/March 16, 2001. The Higher Education General Directorate with the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research [MENCS] shall notify the Bucharest University about the present order, which shall also communicate it to the person nominated at Article 1. This order shall be published on the official websites of CNATDCU, MENCS and the Bucharest University,” reads the order.
It is mentioned that the order also takes into consideration a final decision of the General Council of the National Council for Attestation of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU) of August 29 that confirms the doctoral thesis authored by Oprea “fails to meet the standards of scientific research ethics,’ and consequently forfeiting the LLD title is being recommended under Article 170 of Education Law 1/2011.
The General Council of the National Council for Attestation of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates, on Monday tossed out Oprea’s appeal against the plagiarism finding in the case of his doctoral thesis.